Week 3: Composing Effective Articles

In 2013, there were over 150 million blogs in existence. There are many reasons people blog, but whether it’s to make money or to create awareness about a topic, most successful bloggers have one common aspect: passion for their topic. What are you passionate about?

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Your website in this class will serve as your home base (also known as a hub). A home base is a place where your online presence originates. Your home base will feed content to your outposts. An outpost is a place where you grow your online presence and build a following. For this class, we will use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. As you read last week, these social media sites are where people read their news.

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Blogs all students should be reading:
Social Media Today
Mashable
Wonkblog

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Unlike old media journalists, today’s new media journalists are not bound by the same rules. In fact, many rules can be violated by bloggers that journalists must follow. Aside from knowing the freedom inherent with blogs, there are a fewbasic—yet essential—characteristics you should familiarize yourself with to make a blog successful. We will cover many of these aspects throughout the course of the semester, but it is beneficial for you to have an overview now.

The best advice I can provide you is to be thorough but thrifty with your blog’s content. Why? In a generation that is accustomed to 140 characters or fewer, statistics show readers’ consumption of blogs is also relative.

  • 10% of people who land on your post will not scroll down.
  • Those reading your blog post will only read 60% of its content.
  • Readers prefer visuals (photos and videos) rather than text.
  • Most people will not stay on your page more than 7 minutes.

Sources: Blog Hubspot and Buffer Social

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For those of you who are visual learners, here are a few professional blog posts to consider. The OCM Blog is written for college students. Please notice the blog focuses on a specific audience segment (college students), it offers links to its social media pages, and it generates revenue from its store. I like the BBC’s College of Journalism blog for its use of media in the blog, an easy-to-read list of posts, an their coverage issues relevant to future journalists and reporters. Finally, it is worth seeing an example of your peers’ blogs from other institutions. Analyze the differences among these three blogs.

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Lab Assignments Week Three – Day One:

Today, please write your first catchy article for your site. The content, this time, is left up to you. Make sure you read about the correct ways to write the first few sentences. Your total article length should be between 250 – 300 words. Remember: proper grammar and punctuation speak to a website’s credibility, so write error-free.

  • Provide a catchy article title (different from your lab work menu name), keeping in mind SEO.
  • Be sure to include at least one picture at the top of the page pertinent to your article. Include more photos within the article as you deem necessary for the reader to fully understand the article.
  • Caption the pictures for SEO.
  • Remember to write in short paragraphs — just 1, 2, or 3 sentence each.
  • Add this page to your lab work menu with the navigational menu 2.4 Free Write.

Once you finish with this task, please go through your site and make sure you have it polished:

  • Use proper colors you desire.
  • Remove all sample posts and pages that are irrelevant to your site.
  • Add a homepage link to your navigational menu.
  • Make sure you have pictures in the background of your home page that reflect your site’s content.
  • Ensure you have a good tagline.
  • If your site allows, include a navigational picture for each post.
  • Remove unused widgets.
  • Anything else you deem necessary to have a polished site.

Lab Assignments Week Three – Day Two:

Today, please review a product or service related to your website’s topic. You should include pictures. Please write a professional product or service review. Add the article to your labwork dropdown menu and title it 2.6 Product Review

Once you have finished with your review of a product or service, please surf the internet and find an offbeat story for your website (the story should pertain to your website topic. For example, if the topic of my site was about the music industry, an offbeat story would be this story about Jay-Z and Beyonce purchasing a house in New Orleans. You must rewrite the article in your own words, paraphrase it, and also:

  • provide an effective SEO title to your article.
  • add the article to your labwork dropdown menu called 2.6 Offbeat Article.
  • ensure the article is credible and not fake news.
  • include pictures. A picture at the top of the article is mandatory. Include more as you deem necessary. Remember to caption the pictures keeping SEO in mind.
  • include a hyperlink to the original article.
  • include 2 other hyperlinks within the article that will allow your readers to understand the content more fully.